The Lost Lighthouse Presents: Camel Up 

Welcome back you lovely people! As the most wonderful time of the year is nearly upon us, we have another great game that will have the whole family at the races and hopefully not leave anyone with the hump.
Camel up is a betting game designed by Steffen Bogen. With only a couple of pages of quick to learn rules, it really packs in lots of fun. With a 20-30 minutes game length (definitely more on the 20 minute mark, even less with experienced players) you won’t have to worry about family members getting board or delaying their post turkey power nap. It also has an awesome pyramid that holds all the dice! I love it, it’s quite funny when everyone is waiting on the dice and nothing comes out. A quick shake helps that.

Seriously, how cool is this?

In Camel Up 2-8 players are punters betting on a camel race in Egypt. A game of Camel Up consists of several “legs” and one full lap. A “leg” ends once all camels have moved once. A lap ends once a camel has crossed the finishing line. In your turn you take one of 4 possible actions:

1. Take a betting slip. By doing this you are saying that you think the camel you chose is going to win the leg. The earlier you take a slip, the bigger the earner if it wins. Although if it comes second you still get a pound but you’ll lose a pound if it’s in the last 3. 

2. Place your desert tile. Each player gets a double sided desert tile. By placing this you can make a camel that lands on it go a space further or back. A well placed desert tile can cause havoc for people and is a really great move that a lot of players miss.

3. Take a pyramid tile and move a camel. A pyramid tile means you’ll get a pound at the end of the leg but also means you get to shake the dice pyramid! Which is one of the most fun elements for me but I am a massive child. Each camel has a same coloured dice that is numbered 1-3. Once it’s revealed you move that camel that distance. 

4. Bet on the overall winner or loser. You can place one of your betting cards on the overall winner or loser pile. This is for the lap not the leg. 

Once all the camels have moved the leg ends and you work out how much each person has won and or lost, refill the dice pyramid (what a fun phrase) and start the next leg. Who ever ends the game with most money wins the game. Nice and simple.
The biggest strength of Camel up is how the camels move. It’s really cool. As they make their move, according to dice rolls, they inevitably end up landing on the same space as another camel, but you don’t just stand them next to each other, you stack them on top! It’s even worse when a camel is moved back because of a desert tile, it goes to the bottom of the stack if there’s one on the space behind it. If there is a stack, the camel on top is considered to be in the lead of the rest. Another awesome thing is if a camel in the stack moves, it takes any on top of it with it! This results in some risky bet taking and really makes it a stand out game. No wonder it won the Speil Des Jahres in 2014.    

Yellow is in the lead…I think.

I really enjoy Camel Up as a light-hearted, non serious game. At an RRP of £27.99 it’s a little higher than I’d hope but with the recent decisions our country has taken, a lot of games have a higher price tag. Any “hard-core” gamers may need to warm to it as it’s not really got any strategy per say but it requires some ballsy moves (and a lot of luck) to take a decisive lead. I’ve only played between 3-5 players and it has scaled up well. Haven’t tried 8 yet.  
So send someone some cheers this Xmas with Camel Up. Did I mention it has a dice pyramid?!
Gary 

The Lost Lighthouse Plays: Cortex Challenge

​Welcome back everyone! Well, as we gear ourselves up for Xmas, yes already, we decided to look at a few games we thought could make your gaming partner/friend/cat’s day even better. We have a selection of games ranging from small to large, to fit anyone’s needs/stocking. 

Today we will be looking at Cortex Challenge (designed by Johan Benvenuto & Nicolas Bourgoin). I’m so glad I was able to review Cortex Challenge, whether we should or not, we judge things by the cover and it’s box gave me the vibe of stocking filler normally found by the till in department stores, thankfully it’s so far from this! For me, Cortex fits in the ever growing & popular quick party game category. 

Cortex has a delightfully short rules set, 3 very small pages. You set up the game by shuffling the challenge cards (excluding the textured touch cards) and placing them face down in the middle of the table. The back of each card will tell you what type of challenge the group is about to play. If someone thinks they have solved the challenge they ether perform the action the card tells them to or they cover the card and shout the answer. Ok, you don’t have to shout but I bet you will! If that player is correct then they receive a piece of their brain token. A player needs 4 tokens to complete their brain and win the game. Each player also needs to feel the touch cards as they may get a chance to win a touch challenge in the game.

In Cortex you and up to 5 others will test your grey matter through 8 possible brain games:

1) Memory. For this challenge you will have a card with 5 items on it. Cover the card and say the items out loud to win the challenge. 

2) Maze. Cover the card and say which letter is the correct path out the maze.

3) Colour. Cover the card and say which word is written in it’s own colour.

4) Coordination. Place the corresponding finger/s on the part of your face it tells you to.

5) Duplicates. Cover the card and say which picture has appeared twice on the card.

6) Frequency. Cover the card and say which number has appeared the most.

7) Reasoning. Cover the card and say which shape fits the diagram shown.

8) Touch. If this card comes up, then the person who won the last challenge has a chance to win again. The person in question has to close their eyes while the rest of the group chooses one of the touch cards for the person to try and guess. If they get it right they win another piece of brain!

There’s so many things I love about Cortex. First off, it can fit so many points in a gaming night. Fancy a quick pre or post dinner game, it fits. Want a game to get you excited before a longer game, perfect. Is it small enough to carry in my bag to a friend’s house just in case we can get a quick game in, yes! Is it easy enough to explain/play so non gamers can enjoy, BOOM, it is. Also the price point is perfect for Xmas only costing RRP £12.99. 

Not the best opponent.

 The only downside to Cortex is, like a lot of games, there are types of people that will excel or be awful at this game. If you have a problem solving personality you will probably keep wining, so someone who doesn’t will keep losing. Cleverly there’s different types of challenges and we found some people were better at one type than another. Also, the game is short enough that it’s doubtful someone doing badly will get board and it’s exciting just to play let alone win. 

If you like games like Dobble or Jungle Speed then I’m confident you’ll enjoy this. I love those games and Cortex will happily sit next to them in my collection.
Gary 

Double Feature: Legendary (Marvel) & Legendary Captain America 75th Anniversary Expansion 

Welcome back everyone. I’ve been extremely busy here at Hennessey Heights so I’m sorry this hasn’t been out sooner. Today we take a look at the mega cool Captain America 75th Anniversary expansion for Upper Deck’s & Devin Low’s Legendary, but I thought we would cover the base game a little bit first. For simplicities sake whenever I write “Legendary” I’m referring to Marvel Legendary, as there are quite a few base versions available. 

Legendary is great for a few reasons. For one, deck builders tend to be quite hard work and if you get your “engine” wrong at the beginning then it tends to be an uphill battle against the other players. Legendary counters this is in a couple of ways, it’s cooperative, so all the players are working together, and it’s rules, in my opinion, chooses fun and laid back vibes over a super in-depth complicated system. You can also set the difficulty with which ever villain you choose to fight. 


As a simple summary, in Legendary you each gradually build your decks with better, more powerful Marvel heroes. As a team you have to try and stop the “Mastermind” from taking over the city. Turn by turn more lower grade villains start appearing in the city locations on the board, causing havoc until they eventually escape. Your job is to defeat these villains before they escape, possibly with innocent people, while building up a strong enough team to punch the mastermind in his smug face. 

I have to say there’re deck builders I prefer, but in different ways. Legendary I would happily crack out for people new to deck builders or board games in general. The simplicity makes it a great “beer and pretzels” game, and I don’t think there’re many deck builders you can say about that. Let’s face it, the fact it is Marvel is also a massive draw, there’s so many cool characters to choose from as well, I tried to collect as many of Deadpool as possible I will proudly say.

The game isn’t without it’s issues. It takes more time than you’d hope to set up as you have SO many cards and they tend to fall out of place in the box if you store the game up-right, but those are minor things. So I can definitely recommend Legendary if you want a light hearted, co-op, deck builder, but if want something with more meat, maybe choose something else.  

So as almost a double feature, we have the Captain America 75th Anniversary expansion. I’m not going to get into how good the cards are game wise too much in this article as I love the artwork too much not to give it the limelight. 

What. The. Hell.


First up, the heroes you get are an awesome addition to the base game. Agent X-13, Captain America (Falcon), Captain America 1941 and Winter Soldier all look really cool. The Steve Rogers, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D cards are a bit underwhelming to me, and almost out of place in an expansion where the art is stellar! The Masterminds included are Arnim Zola and Baron Heinrich Zemo. Both solid choices from the Cap series, their henchmen are super cool as well with Zola’s creations being a menagerie of perverted science and Zemo’s Masters of Evil (WWII). 


The main attraction for me is the old school artwork. While playing, it’s great to really soak in the original building blocks of modern super heroes. As much as I enjoy the artwork of the more modern stylised cards, you get this type in the base game so it’s nice for a different look. I’d preferred it if all the cards were in this 1940’s look but that’s just my preference. 


 

All in all a great addition to Legendary: A Marvel deck building game. 

Captain America 75th Anniversary Expansion RRP 17.99

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game RRP 49.99

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Ice Cool

So, looking for a new game? Maybe a dexterity game? With penguins…with bow ties!  If like me, you answered yes to all of those questions then Ice Cool is the game for you. 

There’s so many fun elements of Ice Cool, the game board is even made up from the box itself. You peg all the interior boxes together to make a sliping and sliding school.
The rules are super simple. If 3-4 players are involved, 2-3 of you are runners and 1 of you is the catcher. The runners get to make one flick during a turn, and their aim is to get completely through a doorway with their coloured fish above it. If they make it, they take their coloured fish and take a card from the draw pile. Each card is labeled 1 to 3 points. The catcher has to flick their penguin, bump into the other penguins and take their hall pass, giving him/her access to the draw pile. The round ends when one runner has all their fish or the catcher has everyone’s hall pass. The game ends once everyone has been the Catcher. Then points are added up and the highest  score wins. Those are the rules, but they aren’t the game. Not by long shot. The game comes from laughing so hard when your friend’s about to win by flicking a penguin two inches through a doorway,  but ends up fluffing it and flicks him half way across the room instead! 

The penguin play pieces are awesome. Just the way they move and wobble is great to watch.  Beware though,  if your cat’s like Monty, he’ll want to get involved! Setup is incredibly quick so you can start flicking right away. 

Brain Gomez and Brain Games have produced a game that has ticked every box on my “great game” list: lots of dexterity, gets people animated and up on their feet, and makes people rethink what a board game is or what they can be. 

If you want a quick game that all the family can enjoy, including the cat, then pick up Ice Cool. Also if I didn’t mention…they have bow ties! 

RRP £29.99

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Flick ‘Em Up

There’s a snake in my boot! Sorry, that’s my last Toy Story reference (probably). As we continue with some awesome dexterity games, it would be a crime to miss out Flick ‘Em Up. So grab your Stetson, stick on a western playlist and flex your digits, you’re about do some serious flicking!  

Seriously, how cool does this game look!?

Flick ‘Em Up  was a huge hit last year with its plush wooden “you know I’m worth it” box, and it was. But now Z-Man have released a plastic version, with a massively reduced price to boot. Only a few games in my life have been fun to punch and put together, and placing little rings on plastic cowboys gets included in that. It can also play 2-10 players! 

When it comes to rules, dexterity games thankfully tend to be quite light on them, meaning they are great for cracking out when you have people round who are new to gaming or have trouble picking up complicated rules. 

It’s not looking good for the Sheriff

The core rules behind Flick ‘Em Up are these: meeples activate one at a time between the teams. Once activated your meeple can ether move or shoot, or one of those twice. To move, you simple place the movement disc in contact with your meeple and flick it. As long as it doesn’t touch anything you then place your meeple where the disc ended up. If it does touch something it counts as a failed move and nothing happens, wasting the action. To shoot, you place the bullet disc next to your meeple and flick it, trying to hit an opposing players meeple. If they topple over they have been wounded and take a heart token. What makes shooting harder is all the debris in the way, and friendly players! If you hit a team mate, they take a wound!

There’s lots of extra cool rules for duelling, entering shops and throwing dynamite! One of my favourite extra pieces is the rifle counter, which basically let’s you “aim” your bullet when you shoot which is useful for people like me who can’t hit a barn door. The rule book comes with lots of missions to play through, with extra rules being added as you go. 

We really enjoyed Flick ‘Em Up. It’s nice to see my board game collection slowly lose the time draining non interaction hard-core strategy games, and quick, fun, light hearted games that has everyone talking to each other like, this take their place. Whether that’s just a shift for me, or the community in general I’m unsure but I know when I see a batch of new releases, it’s games like Flick ‘Em Up that catches my eye! 
Flick ‘Em Up retails at 32.99 RRP. 

Next week we’ll be looking at Red Rock Tomahawk, Flick ‘Em Ups awesome Native American expansion! 

Dice Masters: World’s Finest

 

Oh my, that’s right, I’m back! After many months of wedding prep, saving and of course the actual wedding, I’m ready to type again.
I was very kindly supplied with a few Dice Masters box samples, but sadly at the peak of wedding chaos, so I’d like to apologise for not getting to these sooner.

For a recap on the game mechanics please see my first article on Dice Masters.

So Dice Masters has gone on from strength to strength since my last article, my gaming skill has not! It’s not about winning for me anymore it’s about putting together cool teams and, in all honestly, some pretty dice. But that’s good right? It must show the appeal of the game that it hits so many buttons.

World’s finest, a 2 player starter set, definitely does hit the correct buttons for me. After the some what, or massive, disappointment of Batman vs. Superman it’s nice to see Wizkids can get it right. The artwork is amazing. My personal favourites being Harvey Bullock and the classic art of Call To Actions.

Who’s not a donut enthusiast?

The dice also don’t let the set down. With all the releases so far you’d expect the quality designs and colours to diminish but there’s no evidence of that here. The Superman die is a surperb marbed blue and white, while it’s impossible not to love Harvey Bullock’s donut die!

Game play wise, World’s Finest offers lots of cheap characters, something I feel the starter sets before lacked. That alone, combined with the RRP of £16.99, makes it worth adding to your collection, beginner or not.

Why not use this awesome Store Locator to find & support your local scene.

Gary

 

We were supplied a copy of the game for this review.

 

The Lost Lighthouse Plays: T.I.M.E Stories Part 1

And that’s my final thought on the game…wait, something’s wrong. I know what’s happened; we’ve jumped in at the wrong point of the run. Let’s spend some Time Units and jump back to the beginning of the article.

*Various 80’s Sci-Fi noises*

T.I.M.E Stories rematerialized within our local game stores in 2015, published by Space Cowboys and Asmodee. A game notoriously difficult to write about as SO much relies on the story and not letting the cat out the bag. So I’m going to write one article now, 3 runs into the game, with no spoilers and one after our time agents have solved the mystery WITH spoilers

So this piece will focus on how I feel about the mechanics, aesthetics and general play style of the game but will give away none the important story hooks.

As I previously stated our play group has only got half way through 3 “runs” into the mission supplied with the base game, so my opinions may change in the next article after we’ve finished. So take them with a pinch of salt.

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Look at how cool those component slots are!

Upon looking at the contents of the box, you know this is a different game. I’m a huge fan of RPGs and from what I’d heard of the game that would help. The components are fascinating; the pieces that represent the players are huge! It feels as if the designers looked at standard games components and went “our game’s completely different, let’s not have standard components”. One thing I really enjoy about the box design is that you can essentially “save” your game progress ready for your next session. The board itself is a blank canvas which is perfect considering the idea of the game.
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I feel I’m getting ahead of myself. If you haven’t heard about T.I.M.E Stories, you and between 1-3 other players take on the roles of agents sent back to some time in history, ours or otherwise, to correct something that has gone wrong. Problem is, time travel takes a lot of energy and it’s not long till you’re ripped back to the future. Every trip is called a run, and every time you try to do something during a run it costs Time Units (TU). Once you’ve spent an allowed amount of TU during a run you have to start again from the beginning. But hopefully you’ll bring along some memories and items from your previous run(s).

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I played as Mademoiselle Doume. Bitter as hell, and twice as tough!

You each pick a different person for your agent to inhabit while they have slipped back through time. Some are better at conversations, some are better at smashing heads! Classic RPG style. It really benefits your party to take a mix.
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Your “view” during the game is a panorama, which changes per location you go to, of the area you are occupying. This could be a roof or a cave etc. you can move your agents around the panorama to interact or talk to various people. Some times for better or for the worse as you are occasionally drawn into fights. The dice mechanics are really simple, though the rule book sometimes isn’t as clear as it could be. As you travel to different locations, you slowly start to piece together the mystery you are there to solve. Then, inevitably, you run out of TU and have to start again. I believe you are meant to get quicker with each run as you know where things are and who you can ignore.
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The artwork is a true highlight. The mission in the core box looks beautiful. It really has that American Horror Story vibe to it. I’d even advise putting on some creepy music while playing.

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Time Units run out much quicker than you'd hope!

So I and my crew are 2.5 runs into a game. It’s a completely new experience for us; it has such a unique playstyle. I really enjoyed reading out the cards and the look on people’s faces when, as a team, you’ve made a bad move, or the joy when you’ve solved something. I’d advise a “no phone at the table” rule as it can really break the vibe of the game if people aren’t paying attention, it also doesn’t help as you need to remember things people have said to you from previous encounters. I can’t give a full opinion yet as I’ve not finished the first mission but the “re-run” style mechanic is looking to be a blessing and a curse at the same time. On occasions it’s really nail biting trying to get stuff done before your run ends, other times it just gets a bit tedious redoing the same things 3 or 4 times. I’m hoping once we have finished the first mission that opinion will have changed.

Overall, at this moment in time, I’d say T.I.M.E Stories is still worth picking up, it’s so unique in its play style and really gets the players immersed in the story. The fact each expansion just “plugs in” to the game board is really cool.

So until my final review, get in your time pods and secure yourselves, for time travel can be a little bumpy!

Gary